Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



POTTER, n. [form pot.] One whose occupation is to make earthen vessels.

POTTERN-ORE, n. A species of ore, which, from its aptness to vitrify like the glazing of potter’s ware, the miners call by this name.

POTTERY, n. The vessels or ware made by potters; earthen ware, glazed and baked.

1. The place where earthen vessels are manufactured.

POTTING, n. [form pot.] Drinking; tippling.

1. In the W. Indies, the process of putting sugar in casks for draining.

POTTING, ppr. Preserving in a pot; draining, as above; drinking.


1. A liquid measure of four pints.

2. A vessel; a pot or tankard.

POT-VALIANT, a. [pot and valiant.] Courageous over the cup; heated to valor by strong drink.


1. A small bag; usually, a leathern bag to be carried in the pocket.

2. A protuberant belly.

3. The bag or sack of a fowl, as that of the pelican.

POUCH, v.t. To pocket; to save.

1. To swallow; used of fowls, whose crop is called in French, poche.

2. To pout. [Not used.]

POUCH-MOUTHED, a. Blubber-lipped. [Not used.]

POUL-DAVIS, n. A sort of sail cloth. [Not used.]

POULE. [See Pool.]

POULT, n. A young chicken. [Little used.]


1. One who makes it his business to sell fowls for the table.

2. Formerly, in England, an officer of the king’s household, who had the charge of the poultry.

POULTICE, n. [L. puls, pultis.] A cataplasm; a soft composition of meal, bran, or the like substance, to be applied to sores, inflamed parts of the body, etc.

POULTICE, v.t. To apply a cataplasm to.

POULTIVE, for poultice, is not used.

POULTRY, n. [L. pullus, a chicken, or other young animal; allied to Eng. foal; L. pullulo.] Domestic fowls which are propagated and fed for the table, such as cocks and hens, capons, turkeys, ducks and geese.

POULTRY-YARD, n. A yard or place where fowls are kept for the use of the table.

POUNCE, n. pouns.

1. Gum-sandarach pulverized, a fine powder used to prevent ink from spreading on paper.

2. Charcoal dust inclosed in some open stuff, as muslin, etc. to be passed over holes pricked in the work, to mark the lines or designs on a paper underneath. This kind of pounce is used by embroiderers to transfer their patterns upon their stuffs; also by lace-makers, and sometimes by engravers. It is also used in varnishing.

3. Cloth worked in eyelet-holes.

POUNCE, v.t. To sprinkle or rub with pounce.
POUNCE, n. [L. pungo.] The claw or talon of a bird of prey.
POUNCE, v.i. To fall on suddenly; to fall on and seize with the claws; as, a rapacious fowl pounces on a chicken.

POUNCE-BOX, POUNCET-BOX, n. A small box with a perforated lid, used for sprinkling pounce on paper.

POUNCED, pp. Furnished with claws or talons.

POUND, n. [L. pondo, pondus, weight, a pound; pendo, to weigh, to bend.]

1. A standard weight consisting of twelve ounces troy or sixteen ounces avoirdupois.

2. A money of account consisting of twenty shillings, the value of which is different in different countries. The pound sterling is equivalent to $4.44.44 cts. money of the United States. In New England and Virginia, the pound is equal to $3 1/3; in New York to $2 1/2.

POUND, n. An inclosure erected by authority, in which cattle or other beasts are confined when taken in trespassing, or going at large in violation of law; a pin-fold.
POUND, v.t. To confine in a public pound.
POUND, v.t.

1. To beat; to strike with some heavy instrument, and with repeated blows, so as to make an impression.

With cruel blows she pounds her blubber’d cheeks.

2. To comminute and pulverize by beating; to bruise or break into fine parts by a heavy instrument; as, to pound spice or salt.

Loud strokes with pounding spice the fabric rend.

POUNDAGE, n. [from pound.] A sum deducted from a pound, or a certain sum paid for each pound.

1. In England, a subsidy of 12d. in the pound, granted to the crown on all goods exported or imported, and if by aliens, more.

POUNDBREACH, n. The breaking of a public pound for releasing beasts confined in it.

POUNDED, pp. Beaten or bruised with a heavy instrument; pulverized or broken by pounding.

1. Confined in a pound; impounded.

POUNDER, n. A postle; the instrument of pounding.

1. A person or thing denominated from a certain number of pounds; as a cannon is called a twelve-pounder; a person of ten pounds annual income is called a ten-pounder; a note or bill is called a ten-pounder.

2. A large pear.

Pound foolish. The phrase, penny wise and pound foolish, signified negligent in the care of large sums, but careful to save small sums.

POUNDING, ppr. Beating; bruising; pulverizing; impounding.

POUPETON, n. A puppet or little baby.

POUPIES, n. In cookery, a mess of victuals made of veal steaks and slices of bacon.

POUR, v.t.

1. To throw, as a fluid in a stream, either out of a vessel, or into it; as, to pour water from a pail, or out of a pail; to pour wine into a decanter. Pour is appropriately but not exclusively applied to fluids, and signifies merely to cast or throw, and this sense is modified by out, from, in, into, against, on, upon, under, etc. It is applied not only to liquors, but to other fluids, and to substances consisting of fine particles; as, to pour a stream of gas or air upon a fire; to pour out sand. It expresses particularly the bestowing or sending forth in copious abundance.

I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Joel 2:28.

To pour out dust. Leviticus 14:41.

2. To emit; to send forth in a stream or continued succession.

London doth pout out her citizens.

3. To send forth; as, to pour out words, prayers or sighs; to pour out the heart or soul. Psalms 62:8; Psalms 42:4.

4. To throw in profusion or with overwhelming force.

I will shortly pour out my fury on thee. Ezekiel 7:8.

POUR, v.i. To flow; to issue forth in a stream, or continued succession of parts; to move or rush, as a current. The torrent pours down from the mountain, or along the steep descent.

1. To rush in a crowd or continued procession.

A ghastly band of giants,

All pouring down the mountain, crowd the shore.

POURED, pp. Sent forth; thrown; as a fluid.

POURER, n. One that pours.

POURING, ppr. Sending, as a fluid; driving in a current or continued stream.

POURLIEU. [See Purlieu.]

POURPRESTURE, n. In law, a wrongful inclosure or encroachment on another’s property.

POURSUIVANT. [See Pursuivant.]

POURVEYANCE. [See Purveyance.]

POUSSE, corrupted from pulse, peas.

POUT, n. A fish of the genus Gadus, about an inch in length; the whiting pout.

1. A bird.

2. A fit of sullenness. [Colloquial.]

POUT, v.i.

1. To thrust out the lips, as in sullenness, contempt or displeasure; hence, to look sullen.

2. To shoot out; to be prominent; as pouting lips.

POUTING, ppr. Shooting out, as the lips.

1. Looking sullen.

POVERTY, n. [L. paupertas. See Poor.]

1. Destitution of property; indigence; want of convenient means of subsistence. The consequence of poverty is dependence.

The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty. Proverbs 23:21.

2. Barrenness of sentiment or ornament; defect; as the poverty of a composition.

3. Want; defect of words; as the poverty of language.

POWDER, n. [L. pulvis.]

1. Any dry substance composed of minute particles, whether natural or artificial; more generally, a substance comminuted or triturated to fine particles. Thus dust is the powder of earth; flour is the powder of grain. But the word is particularly applied to substances reduced to fine particles for medicinal purposes.

2. A composition of saltpeter, sulphur and charcoal, mixed and granulated; gun-powder.

3. Hair powder; pulverized starch.

POWDER, v.t. To reduce to fine particles; to comminute; to pulverize; to triturate; to pound, grind or rub into fine particles.

1. To sprinkle with powder; as, to powder the hair.

2. To sprinkle with salt; to corn; as meat.

POWDER, v.i. To come violently. [Not in use.]

POWDER-BOX, n. A box in which hair-powder is kept.

POWDER-CART, n. A cart that carries powder and shot for artillery.

POWDER-CHEST, n. A small box or case charged with powder, old nails, etc. fastened to the side of a ship, to be discharged at an enemy attempting to board.

POWDERED, pp. Reduced to powder; sprinkled with powder; corned; salted.

POWDER-FLASK, n. A flask in which gunpowder is carried.

POWDER-HORN, n. A horn in which gunpowder is carried by sportsmen.

POWDERING, ppr. Pulverizing; sprinkling with powder; corning; salting.

POWDERING-TUB, n. A tub or vessel in which meat is corned or salted.

1. The place where an infected lecher is cured.

POWDER-MILL, n. A mill in which gunpowder is made.

POWDER-ROOM, n. The apartment in a ship where gunpowder is kept.

POWDERY, a. Friable; easily crumbling to pieces.

1. Dusty; sprinkled with powder.

2. Resembling powder.

POWDIKE, n. A marsh or fen dike. [Local.]

POWER, n. [The Latin has posse, possum, potes, potentia. The primary sense of the verb is to strain, to exert force.]

1. In a philosophical sense, the faculty of doing or performing any thing; the faculty of moving or of producing a change in something; ability or strength. A man raises his hand by his own power, or by power moves another body. The exertion of power proceeds from the will, and in strictness, no being destitute of will or intelligence, can exert power. Power in man is active or speculative. Active power is that which moves the body; speculative power is that by which we see, judge, remember, or in general, by which we think.

Power may exist without exertion. We have power to speak when we are silent.

Power has been distinguished also into active and passive, the power of doing or moving, and the power of receiving impressions or of suffering. In strictness, passive power is an absurdity in terms. To say that gold has a power to be melted, is improper language, yet for want of a more appropriate word, power is often used in a passive sense, and is considered as two-fold; viz. as able to make or able to receive any change.

2. Force; animal strength; as the power of the arm, exerted in lifting, throwing or holding.

3. Force; strength; energy; as the power of the mind, of the imagination, of the fancy. He has not powers of genius adequate to the work.

4. Faculty of the mind, as manifested by a particular mode of operation; as the power of thinking, comparing and judging; the reasoning powers.

5. Ability, natural or moral. We say, a man has the power of doing good; his property gives him the power of relieving the distressed; or he has the power to persuade others to do good; or it is not in his power to pay his debts. The moral power of man is also his power of judging or discerning in moral subjects.

6. In mechanics, that which produces motion or force, or which may be applied to produce it. Thus the inclined plane is called a mechanical power, as it produces motion, although this in reality depends on gravity. The wheel and axle, and the lever, are mechanical powers, as they may be applied to produce force. These powers are also called forces, and they are of two kinds, moving power, and sustaining power.

7. Force. The great power of the screw is of extensive use in compression. The power of steam is immense.

8. That quality in any natural body which produces a change or makes an impression on another body; as the power of medicine; the power of heat; the power of sound.

9. Force; strength; momentum; as the power of the wind, which propels a ship or overturns a building.

10. Influence; that which may move the mind; as the power of arguments or of persuasion.

11. Command; the right of governing, or actual government; dominion; rule, sway; authority. A large portion of Asia is under the power of the Russian emperor. The power of the British monarch is limited by law. The powers of government are legislative, executive, judicial, and ministerial.

Power is no blessing in itself, but when it is employed to protect the innocent.

Under this sense may be comprehended civil, political, ecclesiastical, and military power.

12. A sovereign, whether emperor, king or governing prince or the legislature of a state; as the powers of Europe; the great powers; the smaller powers. In this sense, the state or nation governed seems to be included in the word power. Great Britain is a great naval power.

13. One invested with authority; a ruler; a civil magistrate. Romans 13:1-3.

14. Divinity; a celestial or invisible being or agent supposed to have dominion over some part of creation; as celestial powers; the powers of darkness.

15. That which has physical power; an army; a navy; a host; a military force.

Never such a power--

Was levied in the body of a land.

16. Legal authority; warrant; as a power of attorney; an agent invested with ample power. The envoy has full powers to negotiate a treaty.

17. In arithmetic and algebra, the product arising from the multiplication of a number or quantity into itself; as, a cube is the third power; the biquadrate is the fourth power.

18. In Scripture, right; privilege. John 1:12; 1 Corinthians 9:4-6.

19. Angels, good or bad. Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 6:12.

20. Violence, force; compulsion. Ezekiel 17:9.

21. Christ is called the power of God, as through him and his gospel, God displays his power and authority in ransoming and saving sinners. 1 Corinthians 1:18.

22. The powers of heaven may denote the celestial luminaries. Matthew 24:29.

23. Satan is said to have the power of death, as he introduced sin, the cause of death, temporal and eternal, and torments men with the feat of death and future misery.

24. In vulgar language, a large quantity; a great number; as a power of good things. [This is, I believe, obsolete, even among our common people.]

Power of attorney, authority given to a person to act for another.

POWERFUL, a. Having great physical or mechanical power; strong; forcible; mighty; as a powerful army or navy; a powerful engine.

1. Having great moral power; forcible to persuade or convince the mind; as a powerful reason or argument.

2. Possessing great political and military power; strong in extent of dominion or national resources; potent; as a powerful monarch or prince; a powerful nation.

3. Efficacious; possessing or exerting great force or producing great effects; as a powerful medicine.

4. In general, able to produce great effects; exerting great force or energy; as a powerful eloquence.

The word of God is quick and powerful. Hebrews 4:12.

5. Strong; intense; as a powerful heat or light.

POWERFULLY, adv. With great force or energy; potently; mightily; with great effect; forcibly; either in a physical or moral sense. Certain medicines operate powerfully on the stomach; the practice of virtue is powerfully recommended by its utility.

POWERFULNESS, n. The quality of having or exerting great power; force; power; might.

POWERLESS, a. Destitute of power, force or energy; weak; impotent; not able to produce any effect.

POWLDRON, n. In heraldry, that part of armor which covers the shoulders.

POWTER, POUTER, n. A variety of the common domestic pigeon, with an inflated breast.

POX, n. Strictly, pustules or eruptions of any kind, but chiefly or wholly restricted to three or four diseases, the small pox, chicken pox, the vaccine and the venereal diseases. Pox, when used without an epithet, signifies the latter, lues venerea.

POY, n. A rope dancer’s pole.

POZE, for pose, to puzzle. [See Pose.]

PRACTIC, for practical, is not in use. It was formerly used for practical, and Spenser uses it in the sense of artful.

PRACTICABILITY, PRACTICABLENESS, n. [from practicable.] The quality or state of being practicable; feasibility.


1. That may be done, effected or performed by human means, or by powers that can be applied. It is sometimes synonymous with possible, but the words differ in this; possible is applied to that which might be performed, if the necessary powers or means could be obtained; practicable is limited in its application to things which are to be performed by the means given, or which may be applied. It was possible for Archimedes to lift the world, but it was not practicable.

2. That may be practiced; as a practicable virtue.

3. That admits of use, or that may be passed or traveled; as a practicable road. In military affairs, a practicable breach is one that can be entered by troops.

PRACTICABLY, adv. In such a manner as may be performed. “A rule practicably applied before his eyes,” is not correct language. It is probably a mistake for practically.

PRACTICAL, a. [L. practicus.] Pertaining to practice or action.

1. Capable of practice or active use; opposed to speculative; as a practical understanding.

2. That may be used in practice; that may be applied to use; as practical knowledge.

3. That reduces his knowledge or theories to actual use; as a practical man.

4. Derived from practice or experience; as practical skill or knowledge.

PRACTICALLY, adv. In relation to practice.

1. By means of practice or use; by experiment; as practically wise or skillful.

2. In practice or use; as a medicine practically safe; theoretically wrong, but practically right.

PRACTICALNESS, n. The quality of being practical.

PRACTICE, n. [Gr. to act, to do, to make; Eng. to brook, and broker; L. fruor, for frugor or frucor, whence fructus, contracted into fruit; frequens.]

1. Frequent or customary actions; a succession of acts of a similar kind or in a like employment; as the practice of rising early or of dining late; the practice of reading a portion of Scripture morning and evening; the practice of making regular entries of accounts; the practice of virtue or vice. Habit is the effect of practice.

2. Use; customary use.

Obsolete words may be revived when the are more sounding or significant than those in practice.

3. Dexterity acquired by use. [Unusual.]

4. Actual performance; distinguished from theory.

There are two functions of the soul, contemplation and practice, according to the general division of objects, some of which only entertain our speculations, others employ our actions.

5. Application of remedies; medical treatment of diseases. Tow physicians may differ widely in their practice.

6. Exercise of any profession; as the practice of law or of medicine; the practice of arms.

7. Frequent use; exercise for instruction or discipline. The troops are daily called out for practice.

8. Skillful or artful management; dexterity in contrivance or the use of means; art; stratagem; artifice; usually in a bad sense.

He sought to have that by practice which he could not by prayer.

[This use of the word is genuine; from L. experior. It is not a mistake as Johnson supposes. See the Verb.]

9. A rule in arithmetic, by which the operations of the general rules are abridged in use.

PRACTICE, v.t. [From the noun. The orthography of the verb ought to be the same as of the noun; as in notice and to notice.]

1. To do or perform frequently, customarily or habitually; to perform by a succession of acts; as, to practice gaming; to practice fraud or deception; to practice the virtues of charity and beneficence; to practice hypocrisy. Isaiah 32:6.

Many praise virtue who do not practice it.

2. To use or exercise any profession or art; as, to practice law or medicine; to practice gunnery or surveying.

3. To use or exercise for instruction, discipline or dexterity. [In this sense, the verb is usually intransitive.]

4. To commit; to perpetrate; as the horrors practiced at Wyoming.

5. To use; as a practiced road. [Unusual.]

PRACTICE, v.i. To perform certain acts frequently or customarily, either for instruction, profit, or amusement; as, to practice with the broad sword; to practice with the rifle.

1. To form a habit of acting in any manner.

They shall practice how to live secure.

2. To transact or negotiate secretly.

I have practic’d with him,

And found means to let the victor know

That Syphax and Sempronius are his friends.

3. To try artifices.

Others, by guilty artifice and arts

Of promis’d kindness, practic’d on our hearts.

4. To use evil arts or stratagems.

If you there

Did practice on my state--

5. To use medical methods or experiments.

I am little inclined to practice on others, and as little that others should practice on me.

6. To exercise any employment or profession. A physician has practiced many years with success.

PRACTICED, pp. Done by a repetition of acts; customarily performed or used.

PRACTICER, n. One that practices; one that customarily performs certain acts.

1. One who exercises a profession. In this sense, practitioner is generally used.

PRACTICING, ppr. Performing or using customarily; exercising, as an art or profession.

PRACTISANT, n. An agent. [Not used.]

PRACTITIONER, n. One who is engaged in the actual use or exercise of any art or profession, particularly in law or medicine.

1. One who does any thing customarily or habitually.

2. One that practices sly or dangerous arts.

PRAECOGNITA, n. plu. [L. before known.] Things previously known in order to understand something else. Thus a knowledge of the structure of the human body is one of the praeacognita of medical science and skill.

PRAEMUNIRE, n. [a corruption of the L. praemonere, to pre-admonish.]

1. A writ, or the offense for which it is granted. The offense consists in introducing a foreign authority or power into England, that is, introducing and maintaining the papal power, creating imperium in imperio, and yielding that obedience to the mandates of the pope, which constitutionally belongs to the king. Both the offense and the writ are so denominated from the words used in the writ, praemunine facias, cause A B to be forewarned to appear before us to answer the contempt wherewith he stands charged.

2. The penalty incurred by infringing a statute.

PRAGMATIC, PRAGMATICAL, a. [L. pragmaticus; Gr. business; to do. See Practice.] Forward to intermeddle; meddling; impertinently busy or officious in the concerns of others, without leave or invitation.

The fellow grew so pragmatical, that he took upon him the government of my whole family.

Pragmatic sanction, in the German empire, the settlement made by Charles VI, the emperor, who in 1722, having no sons, settled his hereditary dominions on his eldest daughter, the archduchess Maria Theresa, which settlement was confirmed by most of the powers of Europe. The civil law, pragmatic sanction may be defined, a rescript or answer of the sovereign, delivered by advice of his council to some college, order, or body of people, who consult him in relation to the affairs of their community. The like answer given to a particular person, is called simply a rescript.

PRAGMATICALLY, adv. In a meddling manner; impertinently.

PRAGMATICALNESS, n. The quality of intermeddling without right or invitation.

PRAGMATIST, n. One who is impertinently busy or meddling.

PRAIRY, n. An extensive tract of land, mostly level, destitute of trees, and covered with tall coarse grass. These prairies are numerous in the United States, west of the Alleghany mountains, especially between the Ohio, Mississippi and the great lakes.

PRAISABLE, a. That may be praised. [Not used.]

PRAISE, n. s as z. [L. pretium.]

1. Commendation bestowed on a person for his personal virtues or worthy actions, on meritorious actions themselves, or on any thing valuable; approbation expressed in words or song. Praise may be expressed by an individual, and in this circumstance differs from fame, renown, and celebrity, which are the expression of the approbation of numbers, or public commendation. When praise is applied to the expression of public approbation, it may be synonymous with renown, or nearly so. A man may deserve the praise of an individual, or of a nation.

There are men who always confound the praise of goodness with the practice.

2. The expression of gratitude for personal favors conferred; a glorifying or extolling.

He hath put a new song into my mouth, even praise to our God. Psalm 40:3.

3. The object, ground or reason of praise.

He is thy praise, and he is thy God. Deuteronomy 10:21.

PRAISE, v.t. [L. tollo, extollo; pretium.]

1. To commend; to applaud; to express approbation of personal worth or actions.

We praise not Hector, though his name we know

Is great in arms; ‘tis hard to praise a foe.

2. To extol in words or song; to magnify; to glorify on account of perfections or excellent works.

Praise him, all his angels, praise ye him, all his hosts. Psalm 148:2.

3. To express gratitude for personal favors. Psalm 138:1-2.

4. To do honor to; to display the excellence of.

All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord. Psalm 145:10.

PRAISED, pp. Commended; extolled.

PRAISEFUL, a. Laudable; commendable. [Not used.]

PRAISER, n. One who praises, commends or extols; an applauder; a commender.

PRAISELESS, a. Without praise or commendation.

PRAISEWORTHILY, adv. In a manner deserving of commendation.

PRAISEWORTHINESS, n. The quality of deserving commendation.

PRAISEWORTHY, a. Deserving of praise or applause; commendable; as a praiseworthy action.

PRAISING, ppr. Commending; extolling in words or song.

PRAM, PRAME, n. A flat-bottomed boat or lighter; used in Holland for conveying goods to or from a ship in loading or unloading.

1. In military affairs, a kind of floating battery or flat-bottomed vessel, mounting several cannon; used in covering the disembarkation of troops.

PRANCE, v.i. prans.

1. To spring or bound, as a horse in high mettle.

Now rule thy prancing steed.

2. To ride with bounding movements; to ride ostentatiously.

Th’ insulting tyrant prancing o’er the field.

3. To walk or strut about in a showy manner or with warlike parade.

PRANCING, ppr. Springing; bounding; riding with gallant show.

PR`ANCING, n. A springing or bounding, as of a high spirited horse. Judges 5:22.

PRANK, v.t. To adorn in a showy manner; to dress or adjust to ostentation.

In sumptuous tire she joyed herself to prank.

It is often followed by up.

--And me, poor lowly maid,

Most goddess-like prankt up.

PRANK, n. Properly, a sudden start or sally. [See Prance.] Hence, a wild flight; a capering; a gambol.

1. A capricious action; a ludicrous or merry trick, or a mischievous act, rather for sport than injury. Children often play their pranks on each other.

--In came the harpies and played their accustomed pranks.

PRANK, a. Frolicksome; full of gambols or tricks.

PRANKED, PRANKT, pp. Adorned in a showy manner.

PRANKER, n. One that dresses ostentatiously.

PRANKING, ppr. Setting off or adorning for display.

PRANKING, n. Ostentatious display of dress.

PRASE, n. s as z. A silicious mineral; a subspecies of quartz of a leek green color.

PRASON, n. pra’sn. [Gr.] A leek; also, a sea weed green as a leek.